10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

NASA/USGS Landsat satellites capture the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf. Credit: NASA/USGS Landsat

Good morning! Some big stories today…

1. Queensland. A new dynasty is born, gloats the Courier-Mail. Everyone’s terribly excited but the key thing you need to know is Queensland won 22-6 and remain the State of Origin champions.

2. The Larsen C ice shelf calved overnight, releasing a vast iceberg more than a trillion tonnes in volume. It’s around the size of the Melbourne metropolitan area, or 1000 Sydney Harbours, and is believed to be the third-biggest iceberg since satellite records began. “It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments,” said Adrian Luckman, a glaciologist at Swansea University. “Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters.” Dave Mosher has an in-depth report on what happened and what it means here.

3. Canada hikes rates. The BoC lifted rates to 0.75% overnight and signalled more hikes in the medium-term, joining the central bank tightening party. Even though the market had priced in the move, the loonie still soared.

4. Elsewhere in markets, US stocks finished at another record high (surprise!) after Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress; the Aussie dollar is grinding higher, and iron ore’s rally looks over, for now. A sensational development in Brazil, with former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva being jailed for 10 years on a corruption conviction, has sent some good signals on reform in emerging markets.

5. China has sent troops to the nation’s first overseas base. It’s in Djibouti, east Africa, where China has been helping with anti-piracy operations for some time. A government spokesperson said the base would be “primarily used for the better fulfillment of international obligations,” adding that “China’s defence policy is defensive in nature. This has not changed.” Interesting that they even need to say that. Earlier, the US head of African operations (AFRICOM), noted: “We’ve never had a base of, let’s just say a peer competitor, as close as this one happens to be.”

6. Fair use, or free use? That’s the question asked by BI’s Chris Pash in this in-depth look at Australia’s plans for copyright reform, a topic expected to be before federal cabinet this month. There are tens of millions of dollars at stake, and Google is backing some of the key proponents of sweeping reform.

7. Freelancer’s user base is now bigger than the population of Australia. Matt Barrie’s company now has over 24.5 million users. The stock’s down almost 50%, but he tells us he’s comfortable. “We’re a strong growth story. We have a massive market, we have no net debt, and we’re cash flow positive. I think we’re in a great place.” Tony Yoo has more.

8. Australia is looking at starting its own space agency. Good idea.

9. Bitcoin has a huge problem, according to Morgan Stanley, and it’s this: the number of people who will accept it for payment is virtually zero, and shrinking. “The ecosystem has focused more on value speculation rather than the foot leather-eating work of increasing acceptance – way easier to trade speculatively than convince new merchants to accept the cryptocurrency,” the bank said.

10. Thousands of Reddit users are sharing the moment they thought they were getting old.

BONUS ITEM: One of our colleagues in NYC went to a restaurant where you don’t need to tip. Result: cute!

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